Sunday, 24 July 2016

How tall are you private

What a pleasant surprise. Haven't had people writing letters to me in a really long time, although this was received through whatsapp hahah.

Leaving this place in a week time. Internship journey's coming to an end. Merely two months but I've met so many amazing people..I am so so grateful!! 

Life has been great to me. Thank you :)

Saturday, 23 July 2016

fairytale in new york

I may not look like it but I am exhausted as hell. Physically, emotionally and mentally.

 Turns out that having classes everyday can be so damn taxing. It is bearable if the kids come with a good learning attitude but just so unfortunately that they don't. Seeing how weak and how behind they are in school frustrates me so badly. Seeing how bad their learning attitude is drives me crazy.

I never get angry with kids. I cant say that I am nice to everyone but I am absolutely gentle to kids, at least I try very hard to be. But I am losing my patience. 
Every time I go to new places and meet new bunch of kids I get new surprises - there are always kids that are worse. When I thought having kids with bad grades in school is bad, I meet kids who fail in nearly all subjects in school. Then I meet kids that dropped out even before they finish primary school. My latest surprise is kids that are completely illiterate. 
They are kids from slums yes but it just never crossed my mind that they could be illiterate. They live in the city! How do they read the signboards, price tags, brochures and all the words we see every single day?? And the kids I talk about aren't 5-6 years old but as old as 14-15! 

When I first learned bout the illiteracy in kids I was in total disbelief. It was one of the kids I have a huge soft spot of, a rebellious but gentle 12 years old boy. Asked him to write something and he refused to. I didn't understand why so I got a little impatient telling him that he can only leave when he's done. My heart plummeted to my feet hearing his reply:
''Cikgu..i tak pandai tulis la. I tak pergi ke sekolah..'' he said, looking embarrassed.

I slumped against my chair feeling extremely hopeless. 

The first question that I asked myself at that time was - where exactly should I start?
Am I supposed to teach them how to write alphabets? And how to pronounce them? 

It is possible, illiteracy is not uncommon in the world but here, right now, I am not capable of doing that. I don't know and I cannot teach illiterate kids.

I understand that I cannot expect myself, somebody so small to help all the kids as much as I want to. I can only hope somebody better can get them out of this.


I am losing my patience. Here I have two 11 years old girls who don't know what's addition subtraction multiplication and division are. Who don't know the value of zero. Who can't solve questions like 5-0=?. They have such short attention span that they can't focus for more than 5 seconds I AM NOT EVEN KIDDING. They couldnt even focus to at least let me finish reading a question. I got so fucking mad I felt as if my blood was boiling inside. 

I am angry cos I am so damn worried for these kids' future. What the fuck are they gonna do when they grow up?? How the fuck are they gonna survive till Form 5 without dropping out?? Where the fuck are they going to be in 10 years time??

Lets be realistic and straightforward,

people like them have no place in society.

Of course, that's if they continue to be like that when they grow older. 
I am genuinely worried.

I know that these kids are not to blame, but they have to really fight for it. I can't help shit, I didn't even excel in school myself, I am not a certified educator, I am not professionally trained..who am I to say anyway.
Engulfed in hopelessness tonight but at least I received something today that made my entire day, perhaps week!

''Kiew - Our Mediator of the team who is the most genuine person I've had the honour of meeting. She comforts and brings smiles to everyone that speaks to her. Her down to earth and humble values have showed many of us that everything we do must come from the heart, then showed by the hand.''

It was part of the Feedback form a volunteer sent in and my colleague forwarded it to me. Was so touched to receive this that I felt like crying.............
 Thank you Jerry T.T I am so touched I don't know what to say.

Friday, 22 July 2016

truth in your lies

If you've read enough of nonsense posts in this blog you should know that I get super anxious after drinking coffee and would feel desperate need to express myself..

I just want to tell the world, THE WHOLE WORLD that I am currently so in love with this band called The Pogues!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so in love with their Irish songs.... so so in love. First heard their songs from one of my fav romance films P.S I Love You. Checked out their Spotify list and fell in love with their songs even more. Their lead singer has this really husky voice that can make me so moony.

I also love Oasis so much!!!

I love Bon Jovi too, i love i love.

Music can really be so amazing sometimes. I feel like I am on top of the world everytime, every single time I listen to my very very favorites such as Iris by Goo Goo Dolls, Sara by Starship, With or Without You by U2.


(and yes I can blog so so often now hehe)









Thursday, 21 July 2016

I am an old woman

Currently in Miri's biggest and nicest mall - the Imperial Mall!
The house I am staying in can get reaaaaal stuffy and hot in the day so I have to head out everyday. I am not so sure if I have mentioned about this before but I am currently staying in a wooden house in a squatter settlement. This house depends on generator for electricity and to save diesel, we only use it at night and will turn it off when we go to sleep. I was traveling around Sarawak for camps and projects but when I don't, I come back and stay in this house. Usually I'll have colleagues with me but this entire week I am alone..

Three months back when I applied for this internship my head of department did tell me that I'll have to be alone sometimes. I freaked out so bad. I've never stayed entirely alone before, let alone in a squatters area. That got me super worried for the months to come. I am very afraid of the dark and its one of my biggest fears so I was dreading the arrival of the days I'll have to be alone..until it finally came.

And I survived! Or surviving, since I still have more days to go. Don't get me wrong, I didn't exactly conquer the fear..but I know how to lessen it hahaha. I have kids coming to my house every night until 9pm. After that i'll keep myself busy by skyping my family or read those endless articles on FB(thank god for the super dramatic period we live in now there are just SO MANY interesting articles to be read, ie: US elections, Taytay & Kardashian feud, Melania Trump's plagiarism wtf), I'll wait for myself to be super sleepy then I'll call Vincent on the phone. So thankful to have Vincent! He would accompany me to turn off the generator and only hang up when I am back in the room. By then I'll be so sleepy already so I'll go to sleep straight. No insomnia shit so no unnecessary thoughts!
But then I am a very light sleeper, any sound is capable of waking me up :( I always wake up in the middle of the night to the weird noises and I would start thinking somebody's trying to barge in and stuff.

I am actually very scared! Some people in the area know that I am alone.

Like I said I am a very light sleeper, slight vibrations from the phone can easily wake me up so I always turn on the flight mode before I go to bed. I've been doing that for years already cos I can get very frustrated and edgy if I wake up in the middle of the night or early morning from the whatsapp notifications.
So this one incident happened two days ago that made me so furious and creeped out.
For one of my projects last month we had a volunteer who's quite a nice guy. Just any other ordinary guy I met. One month after the project, he came back to Sarawak for a short trip. Along with other colleagues, we met up to hang out. My other colleagues went back to West Malaysia while he stayed here for another two days to travel around. I am not very close to him and I was very tired that one day when he asked to hangout so I made excuses to not meet him. He turned up outside my house the same night! I was pretty shocked cos I had some kids over and was teaching them when he walked into my house just like that! When asked how did he know where do I stay, he said he went asking around for the house owned by my organization. After the kids left he stayed for another two hours and I was getting uncomfortable and tired. Ignored him most of the time hopefully he would get the message and fortunately, he did and he left. Before that we agreed to have brunch the next day and I told him I would give him a call or text when I wake up.

I woke up the next day at 11am to so many missed calls and messages, from people from my organization and people from DAP! Apparently this guy couldn't reach me at 9am and thought something happened to me and alerted so many people.......what the fuck....................... Can you imagine my embarrassment when a YB called me to tell me that he's rushing to my house to check on me?? I spent half an hour replying and calling people to tell them that I am okay and perfectly fine and people were just so unconvinced!!! Then people in my organization started arguing among themselves asking if its a right move to let such a young intern to stay in a squatters all by her own. Some of them called and called again telling me to move out and find another place to stay, but where can I go? Carolyn's not in town or I would've gone to her. Moving into a hostel or whatever is a hassle cos I am only going to be here for like less than two weeks. Furthermore, it was my head of department that made the decision and I agreed to it. As much as I doubted her in her ways of doing stuff but she is very much the reason I came to work for the organization and I trust her and I know she trusts me too. Thanks to this incident that people pointed fingers at her for arranging me to stay alone in the house. And if I move out, it would be something like I betrayed her, cos it would prove that putting me in the house is a mistake, you get what I mean? Especially in the first place she already got my consent. If there is anything, it is my fault too.

I will not deny that staying alone in the squatters is completely out of my comfort zone but i think its something I can handle. I am scared but I trust the community here. Most of my neighbors' kids are my students and I trust them, and their family. Isn't community service all bout the community? To blend in and to live like them. To trust them and to make a difference.
 Then a bunch of questions were thrown to me. One of them goes:
''Now you are safe. But what if something happened to you? How are we gonna take responsibility for it?''

I don't know how to answer to that. Now I feel selfish and guilty that people have to worry about my safety. Yes I totally understand where they're coming from. But then, what?
Its a risk. I know trusting people outside your circle is a big risk but I felt like it has to be done if you want to get closer to them. I am doing all precautions, I lock my gate my house door my room door. I do not turn on flight mode in my phone anymore and I update people from time to time bout my whereabouts.

and then what?

Am I supposed to live in a nice condition and just come back to this house for those nights that kids come over for homework assistance? I don't know! 

I am frustrated.

Anyways, back to the story. After alerting everybody and creating such chaos, I got super paranoid and mad at this friend of mine.  Didn't I say that I would call him when I wake up?? I know I got up a little late but STILL............I know its unreasonable for me to be mad at him, ok, give him benefit of the doubt, he's genuinely concerned. But I was just so creeped out ok. LEAVE ME ALONE!! LET ME SLEEP LET ME REST and just LET ME BE ALONE!

He continued texting me after that chaotic morning and I ignored completely at first before telling him that I won't be able to meet him cos I have stuff to do. I was at home when he started calling me in the evening. I got super scared and paranoid. I went to the second floor of my house quietly and looked down the window to my horror, he's outside my house, again! This time wearing a cap making him look extra creepy like some sociopath lololol. My car was there so he knew that I was at home at that moment!! I didn't know what to do and I just didn't want to meet him at all, super annoyed at what he did that morning la okay. I locked my room door but realised my gate and house door were not locked. So if he insisted, he could've walked into my house with no problem. Was so scared that he might do that!!! I was so scared that I started calling my friends lololololol.
LUCKILY, HE LEFT. And before that he left me something, a piece of cake as an advance birthday present.

He flew back to west malaysia that same night so I managed to not meet him. Still, the incident really creeped me out. I know I was just being paranoid and unreasonable. I am alone here and I have no friends in Miri so I felt very helpless although I might have interpreted the situation wrongly :(

Sigh. I didn't mean to be so harsh or anything. I didn't mean to be a liability and I know its selfish that I let people worry bout me like that. Telling them that I'll do my best to take care and look out for myself is the best I can do. 

For now I just want to maximize my experience here before I head home in less than two weeks time! I miss home.
And now I'll continue wandering around the streets of Miri and head back before my rascals come over for class. A couple of them want to DIY a hourglass before class so I am doing it with them! But before that I'll have to head to the beach to collect sand wtf.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Love is a peculiar thing

Love's a pretty peculiar thing.

The part where you slowly noticing that you're in love is the one I find most beautiful and exciting of all - the frantic butterflies in tummy, the warm fuzzy feeling that makes you all tingly inside...At this point love is exciting love is fun. I loved this phase.

Love happens when you focus on every word he said, every little detail, about his little dream you find so adorable. He is hell attractive when he talks about the things he is passionate about.

Love happens when he notices every single detail of you - ''Are you still coughing?'', ''Are your bites still itchy? Do not scratch, I repeat, do not scratch. Dont you dare.'' , ''How's the bruises on your legs?'', ''I miss having an urban girl to worry about''

Love happens when he's SO GOOD with kids, the best you've seen in fact. You feel your eyes widened when he knelt down and put both the little crying girl's hands in his, mumbled something and she stopped crying. Was smiling and told myself - oh, remember this amazing guy.

Love happens when he does magic tricks to make a little grumpy girl smile but you're the one who got so fascinated and amused. Magic tricks to a girl's heart, so cliche but it really worked! Then love goes on when all his silly jokes are so silly but you're the one who can't stop chuckling.

Love happens when you see him looking at you dance from the corner of the eye.

Love happens when he stuffs biscuits and cakes into your bag without telling you.

Love happens when you watch him sing and got so, so smitten.

Love ended when reality tells you to not fall for anyone unless he falls for you first.
Love ended when you know distance can be a problem.
Love ended when you realize how you're so out of his league.
Love ended when you know this is just a short fling that's not meant to last.

Love ended and you go back to your life, not necessarily unhappy, you might even be glad to know that you once felt so strongly for such a guy.

Love's a peculiar thing. :)

The pogues

''Its about a story of me, a guy who plays guitar at a lounge. And at the lounge there's this pretty girl who dances and dances(like how you taught small Rikan to dance). But I can't dance with her you see cause I have to play. Days go by the lounge and it loses popularity and fewer and fewer people are left but shes still there every night I wonder why.''

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Long Sukang, Lawas

*started drafting this two weeks ago*
Another chill day today so I am gonna blog bout my Lawas trip a month ago! A MONTH AGO?? How time flies when I am in Sarawak!
My work requires me to be based in Miri throughout my time here but I traveled to northern Sarawak for about 10 days for an education camp(and later on traveled there again for another project). I've heard quite a bit bout the place so I was very looking forward to it!

Flew to Lawas via Maswings on the first of June, an airline serving the rural areas of East Malaysia. Was really shocked when I was boarding the flight, the tiniest ever! Its probably half the size of the Malindo propeller plane I took to Kota Bharu hahah.
It is small and packed inside. Can only fit about 20 passengers and no room for hand luggages!
Very noisy and shaky too.
But cool thing is you can actually see how the pilots do their thing :) Pretty eyeopening for this one.
We arrived in the town of Lawas about 40 minutes later. The airport is smaller than a bungalow house hahahaha. The town is sooooo small I got bored the first few hours I was there. A significant part of Lawas' population consists of an ethnic group called Lun Bawang, one that I have not heard of at all prior to this. It was their annual Lun Bawang festival when we arrived so the town was more happening as usual with performances, bazaar, games and so on. This is a performance of Lun Bawang girls doing their traditional dance.

Our education camp was gonna be in a village called Long Sukang, 2 hours away from town but before that, my host father already came to town to run errands and I had the chance to meet my host family in advance.
My papa angkat whom we called Uncle Yaris. He gave me a Lun Bawang name the moment he saw me and it became my name in the whole period when I was there. The story behind this picture is that I couldn't finish my food, as usual, and he insisted to feed me HAAHAH. 

I love my host dad. He's a very caring and gentle dad, highly protective of his family as well. When I suffered sand fly bites he was the one who applied the ointment for me! A really simple but sweet gesture that made me all warm and fuzzy inside.I am always blessed with gentle dads in all my host families!
My Lun Bawang name! Rikan, meaning drought HAHAHA. Didn't like it at first, why Rikan! I very dry isit now hahaha. Then when I learnt that Uncle Yaris named all the Impian staffs as the element of the skies ie: Rainbow, Sun, Cloud, Rain etc.  Was also told how they've always known there'll be a Rikan and its very 'me', I grew to love it. Villagers, kids and everybody addressed me as Rikan or Cikgu Rikan, it felt so natural and I adopted it very quickly.
My very adorable host sister, Ferra. 

After being in town for a couple of days to prepare for camp materials along with my two colleagues, our host dad brought us into the kampung to his house.
Dinner! My host family is super hospitable omg esp my host dad. He would (almost forcefully) refill our bowls with so much rice!! I don't even eat rice back home in KL and I was eating it three meals a day! Crazy. I do seriously believe that I gained weight!

My dad made bbq chicken wings for us. yum.

I live on a hill with my host family(7 people) and my two colleagues. This is the view of the whole kampung, consists of mainly Lun Bawang. They're a very close-knit Christian community.

Where people bathe and wash their cars.

The bridge to the neighborhood.
The only kopitiam here in this kampung.

The house I stayed in the whole time.

My little host brother! He is so unbearably adorable. So so cute. I have two older host brothers aged 26 and 23, two younger host brothers aged 20 and 2(the one in the picture) and two younger host sisters aged 16 and 9. Its a big family but all with good looks! 

My 9 year old host sister, Ferra :)

And baby, whom we called him Aboh hahaha. He's too cute.

Their church! The nicest building in the whole kampung.

They have potluck lunch after church service every sunday.

It was drought season they said(thats why I was named Rikan i think hahaha) so my house had no water supply for quite a few days and I had to bathe in the river. Was quite uncomfortable at first but got used to it after a few days. Brought our shampoos and washed ourselves in the cold ass water almost every day. Forgot to mention that Long Sukang is one of the villages in the highland so its very chilly and showering can be reaaaally torturing for somebody so pampered with water heater back home like me.

Ferra's best friend, Esther. Her parents just recently passed away for a reason that I do not know and my host family took her in temporarily while her other siblings were sent  away :(

After two days of the chill kampung life, our volunteers for the education camp have arrived!
Briefing session. We have about 10 volunteers this time and all of them were from West Malaysia. Very interesting group of volunteers as we have a mixture of age groups, races and professions. The oldest we have is 80 years old and the youngest we have is 20 years old.

Next morning. Test run for our games! From left, James, Pak Tang, Tian Ching and me! James' a law student, Pak Tang a retired secondary school principal and TC's a dentist! and im a...potato.

Playing one of the kids' favorite games - Pulau Buaya!

Pak Tang needed to 'recharge' several times a day hehehe. I respect him really, traveling and volunteering around at such age!


Mandi sungai! Look at me being so evil splashing people with the freezing cold water.

My house is up on the hill so it can be really tiring and mafan to go up and down everyday so I always hang out at other volunteers' host family's house hahaa.
On my sides are Wayne, Malaysian working in Singapore and JiaYing, another law student.

My other host sister, Febe whom I grew quite close to. She's like the younger sister I never had, hehe.

My house!

Blessed with super amazing skies everyday.

Have I mentioned about what my host dad does for a living?? He's a transporter for the logging company, a farmer and a hunter hahah.

That day he and his friends successfully hunted down two wild boars, a mother boar and a child boar. Found it cruel and gross at first, but realised that its just the norm here and its how the kampung people live. My first time seeing this though! Pictured here is my 20 year old host brother, Job! Also another sibling I grew very close to.

Was it gross?? Very. Hahha the smell's super horrible as well.

After coming back to the town a week later I sent this picture to my family group chat.
My oldest sister :''Wtf how can you smile infront of a beheaded pig. Thats like smiling at beheaded Ned Stark!''


Skinning the boar and preparing for a feast!

My papa's best friend and hunting pal :)
Half an hour later... roast pork!! I was still quite disgusted and didn't want to eat it at first but everybody said it was so good so I tried it. DAYUMMMMM THIS SHIT IS SO GOOD.

One morning I woke up earlier to accompany my brother to the farm. Earlier means 6am haha we wake up about 7am everyday.

Morning faces.

So beautiful. Job pointed at these lands and told me his family owns this all! The privilege of being bumiputera.

It was a very lovely morning, just like all the other days.

And... its the first day of the camp!
We had about 60 participants :)

We separated the kids into 6 groups and assigned them each with one or two volunteer teachers. This is one of the group! Noticed someone familiar?? Its Cikgu WeiYing!! hehe. She flew all the way to Lawas to be a volunteer teacher too I was so excited having a familiar face from home in a total foreign land. 

Cheeky little people :)

My favorite babydoll Natalia! I love her so much she is such a gentle and adorable girl.

WeiYing's host sister, Julia :) 

All the camp participants, their group flags and their teachers!:)

Kids, Cikgu Wayne and I.

Me, Cikgu WeiYing and Cikgu Lian Ching :)

Sitting on the back of the truck!

One of the prettiest kampungs here.

One of my students' dad got into an accident so I followed Job here to pick him up and send him to clinic. Rescue process took us very long cos we couldn't move him down the stairs. Con of having a house on the hill.


Wei Ying and I after mandi sungai.

There was an event in the village too where all the pastors from other villages came by for a gathering. We gatecrashed their singing competition hahah.

Next day we woke up at 5am to catch the sunrise! But no sunrise on that day though.

Wayne. People I meet here regardless of volunteers or locals were so so nice to me. I fell sick one day and was feeling super unwell. Wayne gave me his meds he brought from home and I refused it cos..its his! Then I felt even more unwell I was secretly blaming myself that I should've accepted his kindness cos with the chilly weather and shit I don't know if I can get better. Awhile later he came up to me again saying ''you can't escape this time liao faster eat the meds ah'' T.T I was so so touched cos we only met each other a few days before and he was so kind and caring to offer me meds twice.

Simple act but i was real touched hehe.

Such a wonderful group of friends!
One of our activities for science class involves observing body parts of the insects so we asked the kids to catch some and wow, the insects they caught were so fancy!

Cikgu Wayne and Cikgu Lian Ching explaining bout the types of insects and their body parts. Kids were given magnifying glass to observe them.

While another activity conducted by Cikgu Gary was some water quality test by the river.

While Cikgu Pak Tang and Cikgu Black(James) were teaching kids maths.

Jia Ying!


No filter!

Imagine me coming home to this everyday for more than a week...eheheh. such joy.

He didn't blink! He just did that everytime he saw me taking pictures of him!! HAHAH CUTE DIE ME.

Trust me he wasn't angry, he was really posing. hahaha.

BBQ night!

Kids LOVEEE their jumpshots.

Cikgu Wayne showing them his milky way pictures.

With some of my kids! 

Give me back my camera!

Laid down to see the stars.

Third and last day of camp!
My cutiepie <3
Translating some chinese stuff for the kids.


The villagers went hunting and brought back a deer! It was quite disturbing so I quickly snapped a few pictures and left hahaha. 

The deer meat was so delicious though.

A family portrait with my host parents. was time for Malam Kebudayaan!
Two of our volunteers were the emcee for that night. They did a great job!

My papa giving speech.

The kids had a mini fashion show. So cute!

They did a sketch too.

Uncle Yaris gave each of us volunteers a token of appreciation, a hat made of the tree bark.

With my favorite Lun Bawang hotmama and her gorgeous 4 kids. 

Love herrrrr.

After Malam Kebudayaan we had an after party in Uncle Yaris house. Yummmm all the BBQ yummies.

Next morning..

Aboh! He is so precious!!


Little sister and brother :)

We headed to Merarap Hot Spring an hour away from the kampung. It was empty with no visitors so we took over the whole place that day.  So much fun with the bunch I miss it already!

Sat behind the truck on the way there and it rained..SO MUCH FUN THOUGH hehee.

BBQ night.

Me, Apek and my host brother Mugang.

Eldest host brother, Spencer and my sister Febe!

Another host brother and the one I am closest to, Job!

On the way back.

Went back to my favorite family's house to say one last good bye to them :)

Then along with other staffs we flew back to Miri and ended our camp :)
That's my first experience to Lawas!

Since the day I drafted this post I attended another two projects - another education camp and a water project. Both were very unforgettable and moving I can't wait to blog about it!